Yao Ming may skip first Rockets preseason game

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Thumbnail image for Yao_workout.jpgYao Ming is impatient — he wants back on the court. Badly.

But after 18 months away from the game and a complex foot surgery he doesn’t want another setback. So he may miss the first preseason game (or more) he told the Houston Chronicle.

“When I was playing some scrimmage with some of the teammates in the last two weeks, I can’t say it (his surgically repaired left foot) is as good as the original one, the one on the right, but it feels as good as can be running on the court,” Yao said. “The foot limits me a little bit. I still have time to get it better before the regular season starts.

“I have not played a real game, even an exhibition game. I don’t know how it will react. Hopefully, we can learn as soon as possible.”

The Rockets open the preseason against Orlando (and Dwight Howard) on Oct. 5 in Hidalgo, Texas. The Rockets also are without backup center Brad Miller for a couple of weeks due to a sprained ankle.

Yao, as much as he wants to play, has to remember it’s the preseason. It matters less than the regular season games that start late October. And even missing those — or having your minutes limited to 24 a game to start — is not a big deal. With a healthy team and Yao come the playoffs, the Rockets are a popular dark horse pick in the West. Without him, they are not even making it that far. So rest.

Still, it sucks.

LeBron says “get it done” message was for both Cavaliers, Thompson

LeBron James
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Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.

So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.

When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.

At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.

The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.

China basketball qualifies for 2016 Olympics

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China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.

China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.

Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.

This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.

The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.